Nghia Hung

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					VN012             Nghia Hung

Nghia Hung                                                                           Criteria: A1, A4i & A4iii

Province(s):           Nam Dinh
PA Status:             None

Latitude:              19º58'N
Longitude:             106º10'E
Area:                  7,600 ha
Altitude Range:        0-2 m asl

Priority Landscape:

General Description

Nghia Hung IBA is located in the south of the Red River Delta, and comprises 12 km of coastline, between the
estuaries of the Day and Ninh Co rivers. Adjacent to the Ninh Co estuary, the main habitats are saltmarsh, sandy
beaches and dunes, some of which have been afforested with the exotic Casuarina equisetifolia. To the west of the
Ninh Co estuary, the coastline is dominated by aquacultural ponds, some of which support beds of Phragmites reed.
In the Day estuary, a large area of intertidal mudflats extends offshore. The landward side of these mudflats has
been afforested with mangrove, much of which has been enclosed within aquacultural ponds. The IBA also includes
two small, sandy islands, about 5 km offshore .

Bird Fauna: Key Features

Nghia Hung is an important staging and wintering site for migratory waterbirds. Each year, the site supports
significant numbers of wintering gulls, shorebirds and waterfowl. During April 1994, it was estimated that over
30,000 shorebirds were in the district . A high tide roost of shorebirds is located on the southernmost offshore island
where a maximum of 1,774 shorebirds were recorded during May 1996 . Surveys to date have recorded the
occurrence of nine globally threatened and near-threatened species at the site, including two endangered species,
Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer and Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor. In addition, the site regularly
supports more than 1% of the Asian biogeographic population of Spotted Redshank T. erythropus and Lesser Sand
Plover Charadrius mongolus. Furthermore, Nghia Hung is not only important for migratory waterbirds; the offshore
islands are both important stop-over sites for passerine migrants and other migratory birds.

 Species                        IBA       Global     Other    Notes
                               Criteria   Threat     IBAs
 S potted Greenshank              A1       EN           3     A m axim um of two birds were observed during April
 Tringa guttifer                                              1994 2. F ive individuals were recorded at the site in May
                                                              1996 1.
 B lack-faced S poonbill       A1, A4i      EN          8     T his species has been recorded on several occasions during
 Platalea minor                                               recent years, with m axim um counts of28 birds in 1993, 41
                                                              in 1994, 10 in 1995, 16 in 1996 and 12 in 1997 2,3.
 S poon-billed S andpiper         A1        VU          3     T he species was observed on a num ber ofoccasions during
 Eurynorhynchus pygmeus                                       April 1994, with a m axim um count of seven birds 2.
 S aunders's Gull              A1, A4i      VU          5     T he species has been observed on a num ber of occasions
 Larus saundersi                                              during recent years, with m axim um counts of260 birds in
                                                              1994, 120 in 1995, 17 in 1997 and 18 in 2001. All records
                                                              are from the period from January to M arch 2,4.
 C hinese Egret                   A1        VU          6     T hree individuals were observed in April 1993 3. T he
 Egretta eulophotes                                           species was observed on a num ber of occasions between
                                                              M arch and M ay 1994, with a m axim um count of two
                                                              birds 2.
 S pot-billed P elican            A1        VU          6     F our birds were observed in June 1994 2.
 Pelecanus philippensis
 Asian Dowitcher                  A1        NT          5     T he species was observed on a num ber of occasions
 Limnodromus semipalmatus                                     between April and June 1994, with a m axim um count of
                                                              eight birds 2.

                                                                Directory of Important Bird Areas in Vietnam 71
VN012                Nghia Hung

    Species                           IBA       Global   Other   Notes
                                     Criteria   Threat   IBAs
    †B lack-headed Ibis                A1        NT        8     A single im m ature bird was observed in February 19942. It
    Threskiornis melanocephalus                                  is unlikely that the site regularly supports a significant
                                                                 population of this species.
    †Japanese P aradise-flycatcher     A1        NT        1     A single m ale was seen roosting on one of the sm all
    Terpsiphone atrocaudata                                      offshore islands during April 1994 2. T he site is unlikely to
                                                                 regularly support a significant population.
 S potted R edshank               A4i                    2       C ounts of 750 and 640 birds were m ade in April 1994 and
 Tringa erythropus                                               M ay 1996 respectively 1,2.
 Lesser S and P lover             A4i                    0       A count of 2,000 birds was m ade in April 1994 4.
 Charadrius mongolus
Notes: † = not confirm ed to regularly occur in significant num bers.

Biome Restricted Species: The site does not qualify under criterion A3. See Appendix 4 for details.

Secondary Criteria

The site does not qualify under any secondary criterion.

Threats to Biodiversity

The main threats to biodiversity at Nghia Hung are hunting, disturbance and habitat loss. Hunting presents a
particular threat to populations of waterbirds. During February 1996, 20 km of mist-nets were observed in the
intertidal area of the site. Hunters also use airguns and shotguns. The main quarry species are ducks and geese,
which are sold for export to China. Despite the introduction of a hunting ban, levels of hunting have remained high
because local people depend heavily on exploitation of natural resources and do not understand why the ban was
introduced, and because the local authorities have not implemented the ban strictly. In addition to hunting with guns,
disturbance to birds, arising from shellfish collection, is also a threat. During a survey in 1996, around 1,000 people
were observed engaged in this activity in the intertidal zone.

A further threat to biodiversity at the site is habitat loss. Habitat loss takes two forms. Firstly, intertidal mudflats are
being afforested with mangrove, with the support of the Danish Red Cross. Secondly, intertidal habitats are being
enclosed within aquacultural ponds. As of March 1998,
there was a plan to construct a second dyke, which would Threat                                                 Severity
enclose large areas of intertidal mudflat, including areas Afforestation                                         ● ● ●
afforested with mangrove by the Danish Red Cross. These            Aquaculture/ fisheries                        ● ● ●
threats arise partly from a lack of appreciation among the         C onstruction of dykes / dam s                ● ● ●
district and provincial authorities of the value of mudflats Disturbance to birds                                 ● ●
and natural mangrove .
                       1,2                                         Hunting                                       ● ● ●

Conservation Actions

•      None to date.

Recom m endations

•      Nghia Hung meets the criteria for designation as a site of international importance for wetland conservation
       under the Ramsar Convention, and should, therefore, be designated as a Ramsar site .
•      A management plan should be developed for the entire coastal zone of Nghia Hung district that seeks to
       promote sustainable exploitation of aquatic resources, taking into account the importance of feeding and
       roosting habitats for migratory shorebirds .
•      Capacity building should be undertaken to improve the technical and management capacity of the district FPD.
•      Strict controls on hunting should be introduced throughout the coastal zone of Nghia Hung district.
•      Awareness-raising activities should be conducted among the stakeholders of the area to promote understanding
       and appreciation of the values of migratory birds, natural mangrove and intertidal mudflats.


1. Pedersen, A. and Nguyen Huy Thang (1996) The conservation of key coastal wetland sites in the Red River
   Delta. Hanoi: BirdLife International Vietnam Programme.

72                                                                 Directory of Important Bird Areas in Vietnam
VN012            Nghia Hung

2. Pedersen, A., Nielsen, S., Le Dien Thuy and Le Trong Trai (1998) The status and conservation of threatened
   and near-threatened species of birds in the Red River Delta, Vietnam. Bird Conservation International 8: 31-51.
3. Birdlife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the Birdlife International red data book. Cambridge, UK:
   Birdlife International.
4. Eames, J. C. and Tordoff, A. W. (in prep) Recent records and a conservation status review of some threatened
   and near-threatened bird species in Vietnam.

                                       Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer

                                                              Directory of Important Bird Areas in Vietnam 73

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